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Halfan Side Effects

Generic name: halofantrine

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Nov 22, 2022.

Note: This document contains side effect information about halofantrine. Some dosage forms listed on this page may not apply to the brand name Halfan.

Applies to halofantrine: oral tablet.


Higher risk may be associated with larger than recommended doses, previous or concurrent mefloquine treatment, preexisting QT interval prolongation, or concurrent administration of other QT interval-prolonging drugs. Prolonged QTc interval has been reported in up to 81% of adults treated with standard halofantrine (the active ingredient contained in Halfan) doses and in 100% of patients treated with high doses (72 mg/kg). Prolonged QTc interval has been reported in 50% of children and prolonged PR interval has been reported in 38% of children (n=21). Females may have a higher risk of adverse cardiovascular effects.

It has been proposed that halofantrine prolongs repolarization by blocking HERG potassium channels.[Ref]

Cardiovascular side effects have included QT interval prolongation, torsades de pointes, ventricular arrhythmias, and death. Chest pain and palpitations have been reported less than 1% of patients in clinical trials, and orthostatic hypotension has been reported in less than 1% to 33% of patients. Hypertensive crisis (1/933) and cerebrovascular accident (1/933) have been reported, although causality was not clearly established. Quinidine-like electrocardiographic changes have also been reported.[Ref]


Gastrointestinal (GI) side effects have included abdominal pain (8.5%), diarrhea (6%), vomiting (4.3%), and nausea (3.4%), although these symptoms may also occur with a malarial infection. Abdominal distention, anorexia, constipation, dyspepsia, and stomatitis have been reported in less than 1% of patients. GI upset has also been reported.[Ref]


Hematologic side effects have included decreased hematocrit, decreased or increased white blood cells, decreased platelet counts, hemolysis, and hemolytic anemia. These reactions may also occur with a malaria infection.[Ref]


Hypersensitivity side effects have included allergic and anaphylactic reactions including facial edema and urticaria.[Ref]


Dermatologic side effects have included pruritus (2.6%) and rash (less than 1%).[Ref]


Musculoskeletal side effects have included rigors (1.7%), myalgia (1.3%), arthralgia (less than 1%), and back pain (less than 1%).[Ref]

Nervous system

Nervous system side effects have included dizziness (4.5%) and headache (3%). Asthenia, confusion, convulsions, depression, paresthesia, and sleep disorder have been reported in less than 1% of patients.[Ref]


Genitourinary side effects have included urinary frequency (less than 1%).[Ref]


Ocular side effects have included abnormal vision (less than 1%).[Ref]


Respiratory side effects have included cough (3%). Pulmonary edema has been reported (1/933); however, causality was not determined.[Ref]


Other side effects have included fatigue, malaise, and tinnitus in less than 1% of patients.[Ref]


Hepatic side effects have included increased hepatic transaminases, which returned to normal within 2 to 3 weeks.[Ref]


Renal side effects have included blackwater fever (acute intravascular hemolysis with acute renal failure and hemoglobinuria) requiring hemodialysis patients taking halofantrine (the active ingredient contained in Halfan) for Plasmodium falciparum infections (n=2). Causality was not clearly established. One patient had a positive Coombs test.[Ref]


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2. "Product Information. Halfan (halofantrine)." GlaxoSmithKline (2003):

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Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

Some side effects may not be reported. You may report them to the FDA.